House Committee Advances Farm Bill with Little Democratic Support

House Committee Advances Farm Bill with Little Democratic Support

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee released a $1.5 trillion farm bill for agriculture and conservation programs for the next five years, including food and nutrition programs for families in need.

House Agriculture Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson, a Republican from Pennsylvania, introduced this bill late into the night on Thursday to review and amend it with a final vote around midnight Eastern time.

However, the bill is stuck due to the great clash between Democrats and Republicans over the calculation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food aid program formerly known as food stamps.

Democrats argue that the proposed funding calculation changes would cut SNAP benefits and disable the bipartisan support for the farm bill, which it would need to pass the Senate.

David Scott of Georgia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said of the SNAP funding mechanism, “There is absolutely no way you are going to get a farm bill unless we take care of this business, which is the heart of the matter.”

Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee stated that the bill has no chance of passing in the Senate.

He said, “It tears up the farm and food coalition and does not have the votes to pass on the House floor. And certainly not in the Senate.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Thompson’s bill would restrict updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, which is helpful in determining SNAP benefits used by the people.

Lawmakers estimate this could lead to almost $30 billion less spending over ten years to which Democrats are concerned that it would significantly reduce food purchasing power for needy Americans.

Rep. Gabe Vasquez, a Democrat from New Mexico, said, “Any effort that takes the food off the table for hard-working families takes my vote off the table.”

House Committee Advances Farm Bill with Little Democratic Support
House Committee Advances Farm Bill with Little Democratic Support

Colorado Democrat Yadira Caraveo also expressed his views, stating, “If we want a farm bill that is able to pass into law with the bipartisan levels that it requires to pass beyond this committee, it is necessary that we go back to the negotiating table and remove this provision.”

Connecticut Democrat Jahana Hayes proposed an amendment to remove the changes to the program.

However, after over two hours of discussion on Thursday night, the amendment was rejected in a vote split along party lines, with 25 in favor and 29 against.

Hayes told the committee that, “It is unfathomable that we are once again attacking the most vulnerable in this country, the hungry.”

He added, “There are components of the bill that are promising, but that should not come at the expense of the most vulnerable.”

Republicans argue that changes to SNAP wouldn’t directly reduce benefits for families in need.

Instead, they say the changes would freeze the list of items that SNAP can be used for and their values, starting in 2027.

They claim this wouldn’t lower current benefits but would make it harder for the USDA to add new items or increase support for certain categories.

Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern said, “Let’s not try to make believe that this is no big deal, it is a huge deal… we need to do better.”

About the author

Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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